Web Culture

Go Ghost Hunting with Your Internet Browser

Ryan Dube 17-01-2009

ghost hunting tools If you are interested in capturing real ghost videos, there are several options available. One option is to start your own paranormal research society, invest thousands of dollars in high tech equipment, and sit in the damp, dark basement of some haunted house with the hope that you’ll capture something at least resembling a ghost. The other option is to take advantage of Internet technology, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and do a little bit of armchair ghost hunting through your browser.


How Internet Ghost Hunting Works

If you are a fan of the popular television shows Paranormal State or TAPS, then you’ll know how ghost hunting basically works. A team of researchers pack up two or three vans full of electronic recording equipment, haul it all to an allegedly haunted house, they’ll then set up the equipment in every room, and then they’ll sit in the dark all night waiting for something to happen. Half the time, they don’t capture a single piece of evidence.  This is not the way ghost hunting is supposed to work. Instead of going to the ghosts, use the Internet to let the ghosts come to you.

There are hundreds of property owners across the world who have already realized the value of setting up a webcam at a haunted location. By taking advantage of video streaming technology, these home and business owners can allow ghost hunters to watch for ghost and spirit activity around the clock. This new advancement allows you, the Internet ghost hunter, with the unique ability to be at dozens of locations at once in order to monitor for ghost or spirit activity anywhere.

The Best Ghost Hunting Webcams

I’ve been doing paranormal research for almost two years now.  Much of my own research is academic, meaning that I draw data from field investigators all over the country for analysis, and I write articles on the paranormal. The last thing I have time to do is watch a webcam for several hours, waiting for the 15 minute refresh. The most effective application I’ve found that will monitor and record a whole list of webcams for you is Webcam Watcher 2.1.

You’ll need a good list of ghost hunting webcams to start with. Copy any of the link locations provided below. A few of the most popular ghost webcams include:

  • Star Chamber, Ordsall Hall ( http://services.salford.gov.uk/ghostcam2/latest/ghostcam2.jpg?&1232108648923 )
  • Great Hall, Ordsall Hall ( http://services.salford.gov.uk/ghostcam/latest/ghostcam.jpg?&1232108691644 )
  • Willard Library Children’s Cam ( http://www.libraryghost.com/ghost/images/childrenrm.jpg_CAM1.jpg?&1232109184735 )
  • Willard Library Basement Cam ( http://www.libraryghost.com/ghost/images/ipixghost.jpg.jpg?&1232108749368 )
  • Willard Library Research Room ( http://www.libraryghost.com/ghost/images/researchrm.jpg?&1232109201265 )
  • OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam1 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam1.jpg?&1232109120817 )
  • OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam 2 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam2.jpg?&1232108816907 )
  • OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam 3 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam3.jpg?&1232109120818 )
  • OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam 4 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam4.jpg?&1232108864968 )
  • OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam 5 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam5.jpg?&1232109049483 )
  • Knickerbocker Hotel ( http://www.jasonsghost.com/remote/hotel.jpg?&1232108953436 )

Setting Up Your Ghost Hunting Lab

The first step to beginning your virtual ghost hunting career is to configure Webcam Watcher to start logging the video streams from all of your favorite webcams.


ghost web cam

First select the “Add” button to connect to a new webcam stream.

ghost hunting tools

Just type the name of the webcam, the URL link, and how often you want to refresh the image.  If you’re not sure how often the stream was set up to update, go to the main page of the webcam and check the posted update time.


If the webcam doesn’t update more often than every 30 seconds, it wouldn’t make sense to update your image every 15 seconds.  Keep the refresh rate at, or greater than, the webcam’s actual update time.  If you can’t find the update time, 60 seconds is a good default refresh rate.

As you add each webcam, they will show up on the left menu bar.  Double clicking each one will add them to the icon display box on the right, as shown here.

Webwatcher - ghost hunting on a budget

Clicking on any of the icons will display the actual webcam in the larger window to the right, with options to zoom, save the image, or make it a screensaver.  However, the real purpose of using this software is to make it automatically collect updates for you.  If you click the box next to “AutoSave New Pictures,” the Webcam Watcher will start logging updates to the “cam” folder after each update.


ghost hunting tips

Managing Your Ghost Hunting Data Collection

Once Webcam Viewer collects a volume of streamed images to your hard drive, the final step is to search through those images for something that jumps out as unique or different than the rest.  This would signify a potential anomaly that you may want to check out.  The best method I’ve found to do that is to view the images in sequence using thumbnail view in Windows Explorer.

Finding Differences

As you scroll through the frames, you may spot a shadow, mist or movement from one frame to the next. The next step is to conduct a more thorough analysis of the movement or change.  To do this I use ImageDiff, a free image comparison application that allows you to conduct a complete pixel-by-pixel comparison between two images.


The settings I use are: use overlay, monochrome colors, and set the threshold over 90%.  This will force the difference in pixels to be at least over 90%, and the differences will display on the bottom window as big red dotted areas.

Comparing Images

It’s never a good idea to trust only your eyes.  Even though you may spot a difference in the video frames while you’re scrolling through, this pixel comparison will scientifically verify that you aren’t just seeing things.  As you can see in the photos above, the only differences were the time stamp, and some very slight lighting or shadow differences.  If someone (or something) were to walk across the hallway, the lower image would light up like a red Christmas Tree.

How Internet Technology Can Help Ghost Hunting

In time, ghost hunters around the world will recognize that they can’t be everywhere at once.  And while there’s some chance of capturing something interesting on film by sitting for a few hours in a haunted location, those odds are multiplied exponentially when you set up a webcam to monitor many locations over hundreds of hours, around the clock.  Let your computer do the watching, and you can capture that elusive ghost on camera at your leisure.

Related topics: Image Editor, Webcam.

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  1. jonas
    September 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Actually one of the best ghost hunting web broadcasts i have seen can be found at livescifi.tv , they use a wide variety of head cams, stationary cams, and even thermal cams...Last week they went to a Lunatic Asylum and caught great stuff!

  2. Paranormal
    July 31, 2009 at 11:29 am

    I feel the difference between skeptics and believers is that some believers are comfortable with faith alone. But I agree, ultimately, when it comes to researching ghosts and finding evidence and everything, we all simply want the truth.

    • Ryan Dube
      August 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

      Hey paranormal - thanks for your comment, and I agree with you completely. I think if more people could come together with that simple goal in mind, and stop with the bickering, the human race would achieve a bit more understanding about the reality around us. Thanks again!

  3. employee time management
    July 5, 2009 at 2:52 am

    And your evidence backing up your Protip is......... ?

    • Ryan Dube
      August 4, 2009 at 6:59 am

      hey employee time management - you'll have to clarify your question...

  4. elephants and asses
    June 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    i wouldnt wana know the type of person who has this hobby.

  5. Guy McDowell
    May 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Bloody brilliant. How come this didn't come up when I search MUO for ghost hunting?

  6. help
    May 16, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    i cant find were my pictures went i have a windows vista help

    • Ryan Dube
      May 16, 2009 at 9:28 pm

      Hi - thanks for your question. The snapshots are archived in the "cam" folder within the root folder where you installed the application. Hope that helps!

  7. Brandy
    May 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I couldn't get this to work on my MAC. Are there any mac-friendly programs like this that you could recommend to me?

    • Ryan Dube
      May 16, 2009 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Brandy, yes - unfortunately Webcam Watcher is only available for Windows OS at this time. Hopefully they'll offer a Mac and/or Linux version at some point. I'm not aware of any Mac software that has the same features of this application.

  8. Chris
    February 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    There is also an easy and free way to actively watch these cams, in case you want to to see a better than 15 minute refresh rate automatically. Download Opera http://www.opera.com and open up any of those web cam pages...right-click on the page and select "Reload Every" from there you can tell the page to reload at any rate from every 5 seconds to every 30 minutes, or select a custom time. It's great for active watching and doesn't eat up any drive space from archiving images from the websites. Just don't forget to have your finger ready on the Print Screen key, just in case.

  9. donnaa
    January 21, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    well ryan you could always just get a file dupe finder. that way it takes the the ones that are copies of each other and get rid of them. fast way to narrow down images..

  10. Ryan Dube
    January 20, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Hi ghosthunter13. Asylumcam.com is a website that allows visitors to accomplish similar to what the Webcam Watcher application described in this article does. Unfortunately it doesn't allow for the logging of the video updates to your PC, and as far as I know it's limited to the web cams that are listed on the website - I'm pretty sure you can't add any additional ones.

  11. ghosthunter13
    January 20, 2009 at 8:48 pm


  12. Ryan Dube
    January 20, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Gibi - the webcams are located all throughout the Internet at various haunted location (set up by other people). In this case what we're doing is just installing software to connect to all of those cams at once and log the data. If you're interested in setting up a cam at your location, they're very cheap now - and a breeze to set up via USB.

  13. Ryan Dube
    January 20, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Tapsfan, thanks! Yeah, I know what you mean, it's not obvious. It logs the files to the default path: c:\Free Webcam Watcher Full\cam

    If you look in that folder you'll see the images indexed with date/time stamp. If you plan to log many, many hours, it may be a good idea to install the application on a large storage drive. As far as I can tell there's no way to tell the app to store the logged images to another folder, so it gets stored in the default application folder (that I listed above). Just something to keep in mind. Hope that helps!

  14. gibi
    January 20, 2009 at 4:21 am

    wow..I like this cam. I’d like to know how much does it cost.

  15. Free xbox 360 Games
    January 19, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Great article. Thanks for the information.

  16. Tapsfan
    January 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Hey Ryan,

    Great article. I set it all up and it works perfectly. Just having a hard time finding where the software is archiving the update photos on my hard drive. Any help?

  17. gubs
    January 19, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    well ryan you could always just get a file dupe finder. that way it takes the the ones that are copies of each other and get rid of them. fast way to narrow down images.

  18. Webby
    January 19, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Very good article, it gives a lot of imagination. Thanks!!

  19. Lozil Noronha
    January 19, 2009 at 4:54 am

    Nice Article there.... I want to do some Ghost Hunting now.... :)

  20. usd6
    January 19, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Very good article, it gives a lot of imagination. Thanks!

  21. Madme
    January 19, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Great article and ideas Ryan. Thanks!!

  22. sam
    January 19, 2009 at 3:07 am

    what would be good it was all currently streamed to the web and also with like a bookmarking system built in to teh video streaming site so that u could catch ghost

    • Ryan Dube
      January 19, 2009 at 8:58 am

      Sam, that's a great idea. If you could find an application that could sift through thousands of identical photos and pull out the ones that are different, the system could be completely automated!

  23. hikki
    January 19, 2009 at 2:26 am

    wow..I like this cam. I'd like to know how much does it cost

  24. Ryan Dube
    January 17, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks Atrueoriginall - Hey, ultimately there's really no such thing as a true skeptics or true believer...just people trying to find the truth. Technology can go a long way toward helping people find answers. Thanks for the link. ;)

  25. Atrueoriginall
    January 17, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Great article and ideas Ryan. As much as it will kill me I have to post your link tomorrow. he,he :)